A new federal climate report supports the notion of global warming, a development that may lend weight and urgency to some of Obama Administration proposals such as cap and trade for carbon emissions, a national renewable energy standard and revised clean air and water regulations.
The report, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” was commissioned by the Bush Administration. It shows that if nothing is done to stem the growth in CO2 emissions, the U.S. may become warmer by 7-11.5 degrees by 2090. The report was edited by representatives of the NOAA National Climatic Data Center and the Marine Biological Laboratory, with input from about 30 authors.
Over the course of this century, reducing CO2 emissions would help reduce the pace of climate change, the report notes, but more immediate impacts could be seen by reducing methane emissions and soot particulates.
Key findings in the report largely mirror previous predictions from scientists and environmental advocacy groups:
- Global warming is unequivocal an primarily human-induced.
- Climate changes are underway in the U.S., and projected to grow.
- Widespread climate-related impacts are affecting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems and health.
- Climate change will stress water resources.
- Crop and livestock production will be challenged.
- Coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge.
- Risks to human health will increase.
- Climate change will interact with many social and environmental stresses.
- Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large changes in climate and ecosystems.
- Future climate change and its impacts depend on choices made today.
The Northeast may see such a precipitous increase in temperature that production of maple syrup heads to Canada, and New York and Pennsylvania apple production dries up. The region’s winter sports industry would be harmed, as well.
In the Pacific Northwest, warming water temperatures may mean a decline in salmon and trout populations.
The report’s findings concur with those of scientists at the World Wildlife Fund, according to the organization.
“Climate disruption is changing the American landscape in increasingly significant ways. To adequately anticipate, prepare for and respond to those impacts, a coordinated, on-going national assessment effort is required,” said Richard H. Moss, vice president of WWF’s climate change program.
Robert Corell from the Heinz Center said he thought the report was accurate into the 90th percentile range, reports Courthouse News.